Can the individual and society be both moral and imaginative? In Western society the moral person tends to be regarded as either simple and naive or narrow and bigoted. In contrast, the imaginative person is looked on as someone not bound by the customs of the group and therefore likely to be fanciful and out of touch with reality.
Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. But Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative studies of human reason in Metaphors We Live By and The Body in the Mind, Johnson provides the tools for more practical, realistic, and constructive moral reflection.
Compelling essays from one of today's most esteemed cultural critics Spanning many historical and literary contexts, Moral Imagination brings together a dozen recent essays by one of America's premier cultural critics. David Bromwich explores the importance of imagination and sympathy to suggest how these faculties may illuminate the motives of human action and the reality of justice. These wide-ranging essays address thinkers and topics from Gandhi and Martin Luther King on nonviolent resistance, to the dangers of identity politics, to the psychology of the heroes of classic American literature. Bromwich demonstrates that moral imagination allows us to judge the right and wrong of actions apart from any benefit to ourselves, and he argues that this ability is an innate individual strength, rather than a socially conditioned habit. Political topics addressed here include Edmund Burke and Richard Price's efforts to define patriotism in the first year of the French Revolution, Abraham Lincoln’s principled work of persuasion against slavery in the 1850s, the erosion of privacy in America under the influence of social media, and the use of euphemism to shade and anesthetize reactions to the global war on terror. Throughout, Bromwich considers the relationship between language and power, and the insights language may offer into the corruptions of power. Moral Imagination captures the singular voice of one of the most forceful thinkers working in America today.
While examining the important role of imagination in making moral judgments, John Dewey and Moral Imagination focuses new attention on the relationship between American pragmatism and ethics. Steven Fesmire takes up threads of Dewey's thought that have been largely unexplored and elaborates pragmatism's distinctive contribution to understandings of moral experience, inquiry, and judgment. Building on two Deweyan notions -- that moral character, belief, and reasoning are part of a social and historical context and that moral deliberation is an imaginative, dramatic rehearsal of possibilities -- Fesmire shows that moral imagination can be conceived as a process of aesthetic perception and artistic creativity. Fesmire's original readings of Dewey shed new light on the imaginative process, human emotional make-up and expression, and the nature of moral judgment. This original book presents a robust and distinctly pragmatic approach to ethics, politics, moral education, and moral conduct.
The issues may change with the passing of the years, but the categories of concern change very little: sexuality and the sexes; medical decision-making; justice for the poor, the powerless, the underclass; reproductive decision-making; moral decision-making in business; and personal moral choices. Stevens attempts to present alternative positions on hotly debated new moral issues from a different standpoint, using an ethical pluralism approach. In doing this, he hopes to help readers arrive at their own non-polarized positions by learning from and respecting all parties in the discussion.
Managers are not motivated only by greed, but applying moral principles to decision-making has not been a big success. The author argues that managers and their companies need a moral imagination which lets them be aware of, evaluate, and change the mental models that constrict business behaviour.
In a letter to Boccaccio, Petrarch extolled the virtue of poetry and letters for promoting an understanding of both human nature and morals. The letter was designed to console him after hearing a prediction that he was soon to die and that he ought to renounce poetry. The prophecy came from an elder renowned for his piety, but Petrarch admonished that too often dishonesty and fraud are couched in religious sentiments. Nothing, not even death, according to Petrarch, ought to divert us from literature. For Petrarch, Virgil was the source for understanding how literary studies not only promote eloquence, but enhance morals. If anything, literature dispels the fear of death. The claims of this volume is that it may be the case that the virtuous life can be achieved by those ignorant of letters but a more direct and certain route is guaranteed by a devotion to literature. The collected works in this new volume of the Transaction series Religion and Public Life heeds Petrarch's advice that literature not only orients us to life's developmental stages, it can provide us with a more complete understanding of the human character while artfully advancing morals. To this end, Michelle Darnell's opening chapter entitled "A New Age of Reason" explains how existentialism is an argument for how literature can take on philosophical form, not as formal argument, but as persuasive narrative. Over the objections of even those who study Sartre, Darnell uses Sartre's The Age of Reason as a model and shows how his literary output was a legitimate philosophical inquiry. In addition to the Darnell piece, the volume boasts a series of outstanding and innovative works by scholars in the field. Taken together as a whole, these authors not only illustrate the moral consequences of an original choice, but oblige the reader to explore the ramifications of such a choice in one's own life. Gabriel R. Ricci is professor of humanities and the chair of the Department of History at Elizabethtown College. He is the author of Time Consciousness: The Philosophical Uses of History and the editor of Transaction's much-admired Religion and Public Life series.
Conventional wisdom and commonsense morality tend to take the integrity of persons for granted. But for people in systematically unjust societies, self-respect and human dignity may prove to be impossible dreams.Susan Babbitt explores the implications of this insight, arguing that in the face of systemic injustice, individual and social rationality
John Paul Lederach's work in the field of conciliation and mediation is internationally recognized. As founding Director of the Conflict Transformation Program and Institute of Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, he has provided consultation and direct mediation in a range of situations from the Miskito/Sandinista conflict in Nicaragua to Somalia, Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and the Philippines. His influential 1997 book Building Peace has become a classic in the discipline. This new book represents his thinking and learning over the past several years. He explores the evolution of his understanding of peacebuilding by reflecting on his own experiences in the field. Peacebuilding, in his view, is both a learned skill and an art. Finding this art, he says, requires a worldview shift. Conflict professionals must envision their work as a creative act - an exercise of what Lederach terms the "moral imagination."
Presents opposing arguments about some of today's most explosive ethical dilemmas, explaining the issues and putting them within a political, cultural, and historical context. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.